St. Andrew parishoner wonders: 'Is God like that?'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 20:00

It was noon and daily Mass was about to begin on this cold winter day. The door opened and a woman came in with her two children. The youngest was just a tiny infant that she had bundled up in a blanket and a snowsuit; the older child was a toddler. The woman stopped just inside the door to unwrap the infant in the warm church. However the toddler did not notice that her mother had stopped and continued walking up the aisle, getting about half way up the aisle before she stopped and turned, looking for her mother,

As she turned her face the hood on her jacket blocked her view, so she continued to turn slowly in circles. A big man in a poorly fitting business suit got up and began making his way toward the child. There had been a scandal in the church about a man who had abused a child so as this man made his way toward this small little girl standing alone in the middle of the church, the rest of the congregation held their breath and many were tense, and ready to jump up. The little girl was just about to panic when she spotted the big man coming toward her. Her face lit up with a big smile and her little arms flew up as she squealed, “Daddy!” The man picked her up and walked to the back of the church where he helped the woman gather up the diaper bag and blanket. With the toddler riding high in his arms and her little arms clinging tightly to his neck, the four of them made their way back to the pew where the man had been praying. Is God like that? Does he come to us when we are alone and turning looking for him? Does he scoop us up in his arms and carry us to a place where the heavenly father can hold us close?

My mother’s constant insistence that I must eat used to annoy me. However, one day as I sat at her table trying to maintain a plan of weight control, I heard her say for the third time, “Don’t you want some fresh bread?” Her voice indicated her puzzlement with my refusal to accept her fresh bread hot from the oven, rich in fiber and nutrients, and made with the best flour money could buy. Made with her own two hands that were old and tried yet she had enjoyed making this bread and all the while she worked the dough she had imagined my delight at being able to put my mouth around a hot slice dripping with butter and home made jam.

Is God like that? Did he make the bread of life and imagine how delighted we would be when he gave us a big satisfying portion? What a puzzlement it must be to the Lord when we sit at his table, but refuse to accept the meal he has prepared.

Is God hurt when we refuse to accept His meal, just as my mother is hurt when I refuse to eat her meal? In more recent years my mother cooks much less and her insistence has changed from “EAT! EAT!” to a meek request that I stay for dinner. She now needs my company. All her life she has been so proud of her great meals, her beautiful table laid out with napkins, silver, flowers and homegrown vegetables. Now she is old and her table is simple and still she asks me to stay for dinner. She wants to hear about my life, and what is happening with my son and his new wife. She wants to tell me about the new painting she has started.

Is God like that? Does he want our company? Does he want to hear about my trip to the lake and the new book I am reading? Does God want to know about the tears I have shed whenever I think of the mistakes I have made dealing with family members that are now so angry with me they cannot forgive me? Does God have answers for me that I am not hearing?

This column is the opinion of Marguerite Culhane.

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